LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The city of Lawton is looking to break ground on a new public safety building. They hope to do so by the beginning of fall, and to meet that deadline, the city is now taking bids from contractors who want to build it.
Once completed, It will be the new home for the Lawton Police Department, city jail, Central Fire Station, and the Municipal Court putting them all under one roof.The new building will be on Gore Boulevard between Railroad Street and Lawrence Avenue.
It's an empty field now, but plans for the three story complex will cover 112,000 square feet. It includes new facilities for the Police Department and a jail that can house 120 inmates. A couple dozen firefighters and administrators from Central Fire Station will move here. Municipal court, Prosecutors and staff will also be there. City leaders have been discussing the project for at least 3 years. It's long over due.
"The Police Department has been living in a structure that was built in the 1960s and its out lived its useful life so its time to get them into a new modern facility, being able to upgrade Fire Station #1, Municipal Court, their staff and the prosecutors. People are excited," said Ihler.
City Manager Jerry Ihler said funding that's a part of the 2015 Capitol Improvement Program will generate about 37 million dollars for the project. But the city needs about 2.8 million dollars for construction. An additional 2 million dollars is also needed for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
That brings the total cost for the new public safety facility to around 42 million dollars.
The city has several options to help cover the cost.
"We can look at the existing Sales Tax Extension Projects that have not been completed or those that have not been started and defer those projects. I use the word defer because if there are any savings through the value engineering any savings would go back to the Sales Tax Extension at the end of construction project," Ihler said.
Ihler said this new building is vital to Lawton.
"Its one of the most important things you can provide for your public safety people that protect the community. We want to get them into a place that is a positive work environment," said Ihler.
Next Tuesday city council members will award a contract to the lowest bidder. Construction could start this fall and will take about 2 years to complete.